In a 12-month period, Americans spent $33.9 billion out of pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, the results of which were released in 2009. In the year prior to the poll, Americans spent an estimated $22 billion on self-care costs, such as products, classes and materials (mostly supplements). In addition, U.S. adults spent $11.9 billion on an estimated 354.2 million visits to CAM practitioners, such as acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists, among others.
To put these figures into perspective, the amount Americans spent on CAM practitioner visits was equal to approximately one-quarter of the total out-of-pocket spending on physician visits during the same time period.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) released these figures. For more information, go to www.nccam.nih.gov.